Monday, July 9, 2012

Black Breakfast Barley with Fruit

I recently received a sample of some really beautiful looking black barley. Black barley was originally cultivated in Ethiopia. As I understand it is a very rare strain of barley and has only been grown in the US for a short time.


This is not pearled barley, which I usually buy. Pearling makes the grain cook up faster and the texture is softer and more rice-like. That happens by removing the very nutritious bran layer of the grain.  Whole barley in contrast is quite chewy in texture because it does contains all of the bran. 


Like many whole grains I cook at home I don't always have a recipe in mind when I bring home these items but I know that they are super versatile. Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Whole grains can easily become a part of any meal.


With the black barley I followed the directions for cooking which were a 3:1 ratio (water to grain). I cooked it with water in my rice cooker. I reduced the water somewhat based on what I usually do with brown rice. (See my side note below)


TOTAL SIDE NOTE: 
When I cook whole grains like brown rice in the rice cooker I always reduce the water by 1/4 cup per cup of grain starting with the second cup. This ensures that the grain is not over cooked in the rice cooker.


Simply speaking:




Ok...so now I have some fully cooked beautiful black barley. Now what? Well it was Saturday morning and I want some warm cereal. Since the barley is already cooked I only needed to warm and flavor the grain. I always have a tropical fruit frozen mix and or frozen mango and that is where I started. I thought the contrast of black barley and bright orange mango in the backdrop of creamy white soymilk would at least look beautiful in the bowl and hopefully taste good too! 


One issue I knew I would have with working with the precooked grain is that the actual finished cereal would not be thick in texture like my oatmeal is. I decided that chia seeds would be an easy way to add some nutrition and thicken the milk at the same time.


You can buy unpearled white barley or you can seek out the black variety. either way the recipe will work. It might not look as purty though...just warnin' y'all.


The rest is pretty straight forward. So enough talky talk. Here's the recipe. 

Black Breakfast Barley With Fruit


1 c barley (intact not pearled) cooked 
1 1/2 c soy milk
1 cup frozen fruit
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp mace
1 Tbls chia seeds
1 Tbls maple syrup (optional)


Combine all in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered for about 3 minutes or until chia seeds thicken the milk and the frozen fruit is warmed through.


And its really that easy!


To your health,


benjamin

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